I looked at my plate with trepidation and thought “thank goodness this is only a pre-dinner snack” - 10 very small chicken skewers, next to some cucumber and a bowl of odd looking peanut sauce. “Surely this is not what all the hype is about?”
Picking up a skewer, I rolled it slowly and purposefully through the peanut sauce until it was well coated. Contemplating how to tackle it, I decided on shoving the entire stick into my mouth, as if devouring it in one hit would add substance to what I was eating and end the entire ordeal sooner.
I was shocked when the juice of the meat shot into my mouth as I bit into it. The meat was perfectly cooked and wonderfully succulent, with the juices complementing the sweet and zesty peanut sauce, which I then realised was blended with pineapple (hence the odd look). Simply delectable!
I have since discovered that the peanut and pineapple sauce is a Peranakan-inspired recipe.
I have also since discovered that the specialty of Kwong Satay in Geylang, the hawker stall responsible for this delicious dish, is actually pork belly satay, followed by pork (babi) satay. So I will be back!
I had a dream. I dreamt that I was eating pork belly kushiyaki (butabara) and the wonderful sauce was oozing into my mouth as I sank my teeth into its springy flesh. But in my dream, instead of the plain salt and pepper marinade, the pork was marinated Hainanese style and I was enjoying the sweet fragrance of the cumin, coriander, five spice powder and saffron....yummy... Then I woke up!
But ever since I had that dream, I couldn’t get the image of the pork belly satay out of my mind. I told myself that I had to find a satay seller who would be willing to take on my idea. Then one thing led to another and before long, I was speaking to the daughter of Kwong Satay, who was willing to take on my idea of a super-sized pork belly satay!
So that was how our group of makan kakis ended up in Geylang Lor 29 one evening to taste-test the creation. The majority of the makan kakis including myself gave it a 4.75/5 for being the juiciest and best tasting satay (and certainly the largest). The satay was almost two and a half times the size of their normal pork loin satay! You must try it if you haven’t and while you are there, do try their normal pork satay as well.
In terms of texture, the normal pork satay was more tender than the pork belly, which was a little more chewy, more flavoursome and juicer. One of the secrets of Kwong satay is that Mr Kwong still insists on using saffron in the marinade which made it very aromatic.
The peanut sauce came with crushed pineapple, which would please most foodies. However, I think the sauce should have more peanuts in it. The ketupat was very good too as they used pandan leaves instead of coconut leaves to wrap it. Have a sniff before you pop it into your mouth.
Somehow, I felt that the satay at the original stall in Geylang taste better than the ones at one of the franchisees. It could be due to the high turnover of the satay as well as the person grilling them. The original owner, Mr Kwong has since handed over the everyday running of the stall to his “disciple” whom he trained in the art of satay BBQ-ing. He now focuses on supplying his satay to various stalls around Singapore (as well as to home parties). However, he can still be spotted at the stall occasionally. It is undoubtedly one of the most memorable satay experiences for me and I hope for you too!